Questions tagged [pronouns]

代名詞. Words that substitute for a noun or noun phrase.

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19
votes
4answers
7k views

Is it offensive to say あなた?

My teacher says that we should avoid あなた, like わたし, which could be taken off. Following this, I try to refer to the second person by the name: 加藤さんの趣味は何ですか. But there are situations where we forget ...
15
votes
3answers
710 views

When is it appropriate to refer to yourself by これ?

I have occasionally heard and read instances, where a person has referred to themselves as これ. My Japanese dictionary also lists "Me, I." as a definition of これ. Now, this obviously isn't used as ...
11
votes
4answers
19k views

Why is "kisama" more refined than "temee"?

From Wikipedia:  –§–  貴様 — formerly an extremely honorific form of address; in modern speech is as insulting as, but more refined than, "temee" 貴様 is often said (...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Is it acceptable to use あなた when referring to a superior indirectly?

I know that generally あなた shouldn't be used when referring to superiors. However, I find it difficult to rephrase the following sentences which refer to a superior using あなた in an indirect manner: ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

What does it mean when この is in front of a personal pronoun?

As in このオレさま and この僕も. I know the literal translation, but I never understood what the intent of it is.
11
votes
1answer
4k views

Difference between どこですか and どこにいますか/どこにありますか?

(1) 本はどこですか。 (2) 本はどこにありますか。 Unless I'm mistaken, both those sentences mean something like "where is the book", what's the difference between using です and あります to indicate position? I ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

When is it appropriate to refer to yourself using your name, rather than 私 (or others)?

I have heard—though not often—people refer to themselves using their first name, not by using a pronoun for "I." Does this have special connotation in Japanese? Nothing about the usage (to me) seemed ...
10
votes
1answer
5k views

Difference between 自分 and 自分自身 and how to reflect their difference in English

Consider: 自分について書きたいことがあります。 = There are times that I want to write about myself (lit: things concerning me) 自分自身について書きたいことがあります。 What is their difference? I think the second sentence has more ...
8
votes
4answers
481 views

Giving something to oneself

what is the theory that 僕は自分にプレゼントをあげる is right but not 僕は自分にプレゼントをくれる ? Btw I'm also curious if these sentences are equally valid: A) 僕は自身にプレゼントをあげる B) 僕は自分自身にプレゼントをある C) ボブはボブにプレゼントを[あげる/くれる?] ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

Is 僕 (boku) only appropriate for cisgendered men?

I'm enrolled in Japanese at my university, and we recently had a review of personal pronouns. The professor encourage us to understand and practice casual speech, and as part of that, to try finding ...
8
votes
1answer
279 views

Can the volitional form be used to nominate yourself for something?

I did a quick search on this site to see if I could find any answer to this and found this question: Does the volitional form of a verb mean both "let's" and "I want to"? But ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Usage of いる/います and ある/あります in combined words and sentences

Actually, this has been lingering for sometime in my mind about how Japanese convey a sentence which has both the living and non-living things. Will Japanese use いる or ある? or whichever comes first? or ...
8
votes
1answer
188 views

自分 How to know what it means?

自分 can mean myself and yourself but, how do you know when the speaker is referring to him/herself or to you? As in, how could you know when the speaker is saying "myself" instead of "yourself" (to the ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

What word can I use for 'they', when referring to a mixed gender group?

I.e. for a group of guys, you have: 彼たち、かれら and for girls it's: 彼女たち 彼女ら So if you have a mixed group, which one should you go with? Is there a different word?
7
votes
3answers
18k views

Speaking in the third person

Many things that seem normal in English look arrogant in Japanese. I think I found a special case where the reverse is true. In Japanese is it normal to speak in the third person when referring to ...
7
votes
2answers
482 views

Oneself words difference : 自分, 自身, 自ら, 自分自身, 己, 自己, 自力

I know it's a huge topic, but I can't understand the differences between all this ways to say oneself, and by extension yourself, himself, herself ... If anyone can help me to have a picture of the ...
7
votes
2answers
201 views

Why is "My Apps" translated to マイApp instead of something like 自分のApp?

In iTunesConnect (for those who don't know, iTunesConnect is a website where developers and iBook authors can manage their apps/books), there is this "My Apps" button: When I change my OS's language ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

What's the female equivalent for the informal ぼく?

What's the female equivalent for the informal ぼく? I've heard that females will tend to use わたし, but then it's said to be formal. Doesn't there exist a female informal "I"?
6
votes
1answer
5k views

Why is 自分 used instead of 私?

For example: 自分の名前が呼ばれたとき、私は自分の耳を疑った。I couldn't believe my ears when I heard my name called. Would it be appropriate if I said 私? When is it appropriate to use 自分? What is the difference?
6
votes
2answers
751 views

What rules should be followed when saying "we"?

I know that, in Japanese, you can say X達【たち】 or Xら (where X is a first person pronoun) to say we. However, what rules should be followed for choosing that "X". Can I use whatever I would use to refer ...
6
votes
1answer
905 views

When can you use の to replace a noun?

How come the sentence 白いのは、高い is ok, but the sentence 学生じゃないのは、学校に行かない is not? Wouldn't the second sentence just mean "the one who isn't a student does not go to school"? On Tae Kim's grammar guide, ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Are first, second, and third person in Japanese all the same as in English?

Are first, second, and third person nominals in Japanese used in the same way as in English? What should English speakers keep in mind when considering the three persons in Japanese? Particularly for ...
6
votes
3answers
37k views

こちら (kochira) or これ (kore)?

What's the difference between 'Kore wa watashi no ... desu' (これ は わたし の 。。。 です) and 'Kochira wa watashi no.. desu' (こちら は わたし の。。 です) when introducing a person? Is kore used for inanimate ...
5
votes
2answers
272 views

Is pronoun switching on the fly a thing?

There's a song called Ame no Musique for the game Symphonic Rain. The song's sung by a character that uses 私{わたし}when she speaks, but in the song there's a line that uses あたし: アタシヲアイシテ And then the ...
5
votes
1answer
372 views

あちし。。。Real or fiction

I've heard in some mangas あちし, which means "I". However, in every dictionary I've look at, It doesn't exist. So is this a fictional pronoun?
5
votes
2answers
312 views

Appropriate context for お前【まえ】

When I was learning about 持ってくる【もってくる】 in college we did some roleplaying to practice using it. When my turn came up it was a husband and wife, with a line along the lines of the following: ...
5
votes
1answer
130 views

Can someone explain what purpose こう and こと are serving in this sentence? and whether my interpretation/translation is somewhat correct?

This sentence here (which in context of where I found it is referring to two people, as shown in the brackets): (私たちのことが認めてもらえるまで。) それまではこうしていることは内緒です I vaguely understand it to mean something along ...
4
votes
2answers
285 views

Pronoun collocations

I have embarked on a project of translating a novel I am writing into Japanese in parallel with writing it, and one of the hardest parts for me (in contemplation, I haven't really gotten that far) is ...
4
votes
3answers
965 views

Nuance between 僕 and 俺?

I'm aware that this is a common question and one that can be quite situational, but I have a few specific questions regarding nuance between these two pronouns for "I". jisho.org describes 俺 as "Male ...
4
votes
1answer
191 views

Please help me identify who does what in this sentence and check the translation

Here is the sentence: 妹に車で駅まで迎えに行かせます。 The translation from Tatoeba is I will have my sister pick you up at the station. I've been reading "Making Sense of Japanese: What the Textbooks Don't ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Distinction between "not everyone" and "no-one"

I recently learnt that だれも means "everyone" with an affirmative verb and "no-one" with a negative verb. So, the literal translation of the Japanese "No-one is here" would be "Everyone is not here". ...
4
votes
1answer
299 views

Can 彼 be used as an indefinite pronoun like やつ or 男?

気取らない彼が好きです。 I like him, who doesn't put on airs. My first reading of this sentence was to assume that 彼 was referring to the boyfriend meaning of 彼, and thus my interpretation was "I like an ...
4
votes
2answers
778 views

Politeness / political correctness and gender polarity of "plural" suffix -等(ら) for 彼 and 彼女 etc

The definitions on ejje.weblio: 彼ら 彼女ら What I would like to know is: 彼ら is definitely gender neutral and 彼女ら can only have females in the group, right? As explained in Why is “学生” made “plural” ...
4
votes
1answer
481 views

When is it appropriate to use お宅 to refer to the second-person?

An answer to "What is the most natural way to refer to someone when you don't know their name and don't have a close relationship with them?" suggests that お宅 may be used to refer to the second person....
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Can ぼくたち (bokutachi) be used for mixed-gender group?

*disclaimer:*I'am still learning hiragana, so forgive me for any wrong spelling I've learnt that normally only males use ぼく (boku). What about ぼくたち (bokutachi)? Should it normally be reserved for ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Subtle differences between だれ and どなた?

I would like to know what the subtle differences are between the interrogative pronouns だれ and どなた. Is the latter more subtle or something? What is the exact difference? Also, how compatible are ...
3
votes
1answer
325 views

The use of 僕 by office employees

In the famous 1952 film 生きる (Ikiru), the government-office employees frequently use 僕 to refer to themselves (even the female character used it). Based on this understanding of 僕, 僕 is basically a ...
3
votes
1answer
154 views

What's the significance of this female character's use of おまえ?

I'm accustomed to thinking of おまえ, in modern Japanese, as a second-person pronoun and form of address that is used by men and boys with their inferiors or equals. But in 『少年と犬』, by 馳星周, there's a ...
3
votes
1answer
328 views

How commonly is てめぇ used as a synonym for 自分?

The following exchange happens in One Piece: ブルック: い...行くんですか!?サンジさん!!! サンジ: 行かいでかてめぇの問題だ!!男サンジやらねばならぬ!!! I found the sentence kind of baffling at first because as far as I know 行かいでか is Edo ...
3
votes
2answers
333 views

Using 貴様 {きさま}​ as a joke?

I already know that 貴様 {きさま} is a very rude, derogatory term in japanese, and is practically forbidden in real life situations. However, I came across a song called キモチ by Mukai Shuutoku, and it ...
3
votes
1answer
253 views

indefinite pronoun equivalent of "one" e.g. "one must...", "one might..."

What is the best way to formulate a natural equivalent in Japanese? From my experience, the most common way seems to be contextual inference. Pronoun dropping is obviously super common, but whether ...
3
votes
1answer
263 views

Are anaphoric personal pronouns limited to the third person (彼, 彼ら etc)?

(I hope this question is just a sanity check but these things are sometimes worth asking.) On p31 of the Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar, Makino tells us that anaphoric personal pronouns ...
3
votes
2answers
575 views

Usage of こいつ, あいつ, etc

When can I use こいつ, あいつ, etc? I’ve seen that they can mean he/she/this/that in various contexts but when is it appropriate to use them versus 彼 or 彼女?
3
votes
2answers
219 views

How to refer to a person as an 'It'

In english you can call objects an 'it', as well as people, and generally seen as rude to call a person an 'it'. Is it possible for something similar to be done in japanese? Call a person an 'it'? If ...
3
votes
2answers
381 views

What does 御用の向きとは mean + usage of うぬ in the meaning of "you"

I have two questions: What's the meaning of a phrase: 御用の向きとは? Is it a set expression? I found a few examples where it was ended with a question mark, in some cases preceded by addressing an ...
3
votes
2answers
217 views

Translating "you" as 君 when giving a definition

I am trying to define the word "deceive". In English, I would say something like this (regardless of whether or not it is a good definition): To deceive someone means that you lie to someone, and ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

How do I say "the other person"?

I want to write a small dialogue. How do I say "the other person says/answers etc."? Then, one said...and the other replied... When names are available I usually use those to indicate who says what,...
3
votes
1answer
101 views

Relative pronouns in せずにはいられない + noun

天を仰ぎ両手を合わせずにはいられない結果が得られている In the above excerpt, I'm not 100% sure how to connect the 結果 with the rest of the sentence. I do understand that the meaning is something like "Obtained result that you ...
3
votes
1answer
226 views

Use of personal pronouns when talking to different "ranked" people. (In the same conversation)

First time posting here. I have a question that have been bothering me for quite a while. I wonder how to use the personal pronouns (僕/俺 & お前/きみ/あなた) in a conversation with different "ranked" ...
3
votes
1answer
724 views

僕 in 敬語 - is it possible?

With 丁寧語, it's very possible - 僕が行きます is a perfectly normal thing to say. But what of 僕が参ります? Would that sound odd? 私が参ります would be more normal, I think, but is 僕が参ります possible at all?